George’s Garden Salsa

George’s Garden SalsaMy husband could live on chips and salsa. It is by far his most favorite thing in the world behind ice cream and tacos which is why whenever we discuss planting a veggie garden, I always have to include the components for salsa. I have been making fresh salsa from our garden for forever. But, it wasn’t until the kids went back to school this year that my husband figured out how to do it himself.

My other half is one of the many who have been working from home for the past eighteen months—this wasn’t too awful. Since the kids were doing distance learning, he occasionally had people to talk to when they chose to come out of their caves. And, he had the option to send them to the store in the case of a salsa emergency.

Now that school is back in person and the kids are gone, the only one he has left is the dog. And, she can’t reach the gas pedal. So, out of desperation and in an attempt to use the tomatoes and chilies that we have coming out of our ears, he made his own salsa. And, it’s actually really good. (I say actually because his experiments can be well, concerning.) His salsa is even better if it sits for a day in the fridge and the flavors are allowed to meld. Beware though, this salsa is hot. By his standards, if you ain’t sweatin’ it ain’t worth it!

There is no actual recipe for George’s Garden Salsa which means it’s a little different each time. Everything is done by eye and taste testing. But, I have tried to lay it out the best I can below. Feel free to mess with it as you see fit. Roast the chilies on the grill, dial back on the heat, or add some avocado…it’s your canvas to do with as you please.

For those who like their salsa a little less chunky, throw half of the salsa (or all of it) in the food processor.

George’s Garden Salsa Recipe
Yields 6 servings Read more…

Spicy-Marinated Chicken Tacos with Watermelon Salsa

Spicy-Marinated Chicken Tacos With Watermelon SalsaWatermelon Sugar High
I have a melon patch that I planted with cantaloupes and mini watermelons. Both varieties have apparently been enjoying the warm weather as the number of melons on the vine has tripled in recent weeks. One of those watermelons looks like it’s ready to be picked. But, I am hesitating.

Just like knowing which watermelon to choose at the store is difficult, knowing when to pick a watermelon from the vine presents its own challenges. I have an unfortunate tendency to pick a number of the things I grow too early—much to the detriment of my crop yield as well as my family, who tries to eat said crop yield. Nothing worse than an unripe melon when you are expecting the taste of sweet ambrosia.

Since this is the first time in a few years that my melon growing venture has been successful, I don’t want to screw it up. So, I have been looking everywhere on the internet to get tips on how to know when your watermelons are ripe for the picking. And, I have found some interesting suggestions.

The first is the same thing they tell you when picking out a melon in the store. Look for the yellow spot on the bottom of the melon. This sounds easy enough. But, I have chosen too many yellow-spotted melons that weren’t great to trust that trick of the trade too much.

Another tip is to look for the tendril on the vine closest to the melon stem. If it is dried up and brown, the melon is ripe. If it’s not, you need to be patient. Patience is not one of my virtues. The tendril next to my melon isn’t quite dried out yet. So, now I’m on tendril watch. Hopefully, my tendril dries up and the melon is sweet ‘cause I’m looking forward to this recipe for Spicy-Marinated Chicken Tacos with Watermelon Salsa.

Spicy-Marinated Chicken Tacos with Watermelon Salsa Recipe
Adapted from Eric Kim and Food 52
Yields 8 tacos Read more…

Blueberry Salsa à la Amy

Blueberry Salsa à la AmySalsa Berry
I admit I am not a big blueberry fan. I don’t dislike blueberries, but they are not my go-to for a berry snack. I have raspberries for that. That being said, we’re getting into blueberry season when they are really good.

When I eat blueberries, most of the time they are in something and cooked like a muffin or pie. And, almost always it is something sweet. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of sweet blueberry treats. But, I have been on the hunt for a recipe that is as savory as you can be with a sweet berry—but also doesn’t mess too much with the berry itself. I found salsa…

You can never go wrong with fresh tortilla chips and salsa, no matter what the salsa is made out of. Though some might disagree, a blueberry salsa really isn’t that crazy to me. After all I make salsa out of mangoes all the time. So, I know the sweet will work with the spicy.

There are plenty of versions of blueberry salsa out there if you are looking. A lot of them cook the tomatoes. I don’t. I prefer to dice everything up and keep the fresh flavor. But, it all depends on what flavors you like when eating salsa. It also depends on your tomatoes. If you have fresh tomatoes from your garden, just dice ‘em up. Those babies are gold…

Type of chili pepper is another point of personal preference. I like hot salsa but not super hot salsa. If it’s so hot that I can’t taste anything but the heat, what’s the point? I tend to go with jalapeños, or Fresnos if I want a tad more heat. I also add a little bell pepper because that’s what I do in my mango salsa and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Give this recipe a try next time you have some really great blueberries and want a snack, And, if you find this rolls into being your dinner, I won’t tell…

Blueberry Salsa à la Amy
Yields 6 to 8 servings Read more…

Arroz Con Leche (Mexican Rice Pudding)

Pudding it out there
You don’t see a lot of pudding anymore. True, there are the pudding cups calling your name from the dairy aisle. But, actual pudding is not to be found. Growing up it was everywhere. If you were one of the cool kids who got the Jello Pudding cup in your lunch, it was a very good day. Then there was the pudding pop in the frozen section. Jello was trying to take over the world in the 80s…

My grandmother was a big fan of tapioca pudding. It’s one of my absolute favorites as well. If we were lucky, she would make some when we visited her house. She had these cool, stemmed glass cups that she used specifically for the pudding. I still have them—only now I’ve upped the game a bit.

I think it’s because of my love for tapioca that I fell head-over-heels for the Mexican version, Arroz con Leche. Truth be told, they are not exactly the same. Tapioca tends to be a bit thicker and has more of a custard consistency.

It’s the cinnamon in the Arroz that does it for me. And sometimes I add a little lime zest for some zing if I’m feeling sassy. Many traditional recipes add raisins to the pudding. Personally I am not a fan. The soft rice with the raisins is a textural problem for me. Plus, my kids hate raisins.

You can top the pudding with lots of fun stuff from pineapple to mango and some grated coconut. As the days get hotter, this simple chilled dessert option can be a nice change from the usual ice cream. And, it a fantastic ending to you taco Tuesday!

Arroz Con Leche Recipe
Yields 4 servings
Adapted from Lil Luna

This pudding is delicious as directed in the recipe, and also takes well to the addition of toppings. Some suggested toppings are grated coconut, diced fruit (such as fresh mango, banana, and pineapple), toasted slivered almonds or chopped walnuts, and brown sugar for extra sweetness. Read more…